NEW YORK CITY: I know what you are probably thinking. Look at this year-in-review list; Randy did so many things. Check out the variety of activities he took on; he is all over the place. You have a point, I suppose, for I did have a lot of different things going on in 2011. In a deeper sense though, this first impression doesn’t match my own perception of reality.
To be honest, 2011 had but one theme for me: I worked to advance the creativity of artists. I tried, in my own busy way, to experiment on how to Occupy American Theater. (If you require explanation, please visit my personal website — randygenerlive.blogspot.com — to read my thoughts and commentary.)
Without further ado, here is how my 2011 went — the year I put on a new coat of optimism and went all out to try new stuff. —RG
Speaker | “Solutions of Culture and Education: Concerning Second Generation Filipinos Rooted in Philippine Culture”
“Vision 2020: Responding to the Challenges of Migration and Development”
Commission on Filipinos Overseas | Manila (Philippines)
Delivered a presentation outlining “solutions that address the culture of migration, keep overseas Filipinos rooted in Filipino culture, and promote education reform given the perspective that whether we like it or not, Filipinos would become global citizens and that the entire globe will be a mobile one.”
For a period of six months, artists selected for the NYFA Immigrant Artists’ Project are guided in achieving specific goals and provided broader access to the New York cultural world through an exchange of ideas, resources and experiences. This program helps immigrant artists build some necessary skills to fairly compete as professional artists in New York.
The biggest issue ever published by American Theatre in terms of page count and advertising sales.
The first issue in its 25-year-old history to be devoted to movement and physical-theatre training for actors in the U.S. and internationally.
“The Articulate Body” (January 2011) is my follow-up to “Approaches to Training: Pillars of Voice Work” (January 2010) which I also conceived, curated and edited. “Pillars of Voice Work” reached out directly to luminaries and innovators in the field of voice training in both the U.S. and abroad.
“The Articulate Body” includes a virtual history of U.S. movement training and my posthumously published interview with the late French mime Marcel Marceau.
Moderator | “Being Harold Pinter” post-performance discussion
Under the Radar Festival presentation of Belarus Free Theatre
The Public Theater and La MaMa E.T.C. | New York City (USA)
Belarus Free Theatre is an underground theatre group that began in Minsk during the second term of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. It was an artistic means of resisting Belarusian government pressure and censorship. Our discussion focused on the company’s artistic meetings with Harold Pinter and on the current repressive political system in which Free Theatre members have been persecuted and imprisoned.
In June 2011, I filed a report, “The Struggle for a Free Theatre | Or ‘Long Live Belarus,’ summarizing their exile abroad in the international web-journal Critical Stages. You may also click http://www.criticalstages.org/criticalstages4/entry/The-Struggle-for-a-Free-Theatre-Or-ldquoLong-Live-Belarusrdquo-1?category=2
My Name on Stage | My signature inscribed on a play’s set design
Director Loy Arcenas’s design for Ralph Pena’s Flipzoids
Ma-Yi Theatre Company at Peter Jay Sharpe Theatre | New York City (USA)
My name appeared in Arcenas’s 42nd Street revival of Flipzoids, Peña’s Obie Award–winning play about immigration and exile. A beautiful element of Arcenas’s undulating sandy-beach scenery, which he designed, is the rear wall on which are written the signatures of dozens of well-known Filipino actors, writers and artists—all immigrants.
On closer inspection, I realized that my name was inscribed among the signatures, with mine placed right above the shoulder of the formidable actor Ching Valdes-Aran, who plays the lead part. Both Peña and Arcenas said that the production “is our love letter to the Filipino community.” I was honored and very touched to be included.
Participant (15 seconds) | My name flashes on Australian Museum’s Williams Street façade
“Your Names in Lights” | A Project by John Baldessari
Kaldor Public Art Projects and Sydney Festival | Sydney (Australia)
My name appeared in lights—for 15 seconds—in front of the Australian Museum’s William Street façade. The American conceptual artist John Baldessari (recipient of the Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement at the 2009 Venice Biennale) looked for people who wanted their name in lights—but for 15 glittering seconds. “Your Name in Lights” reflects the changing cult of celebrity in modern society and recalls Andy Warhol’s prediction that in the future everyone will have their 15 minutes of fame.
Moderator | “Writing as Metamorphosis”
NoPassport Conference | “Dreaming the Americas: Global Change in Performance”
NoPassport and Nuyorican Poets Café | New York City (USA)
A conversation about the global voice in the age of globalization with writers who have newly available play collections: Migdalia Cruz, Karen Hartman, Chiori Miyagawa, Kia Corthron, Linda Faigao-Hall, Catherine Filloux, Carson Kreitzer and Ruth Margraff. Dramaturg Otis-Ramsey Zoe served as co-moderator.
Editor and Author | “Viva La MaMa”
American Theatre magazine
Theatre Communications Group | New York City (USA)
For the March 2011 issue of American Theatre, I wrote a tribute to the late Ellen Stewart, the legendary founder of LaMaMa E.T.C. I also compiled and edited, “Viva La Mama,” a collection of tributes from Stewart’s friends, collaborators, admirers and “babies” who remembered her as an inventor of the American alternative theatre — who had changed the face of world theater.
Panelist | “Gender-Neutral Casting”
Panel Discussion | “Limitless Casting: Could the Best Man for the Part Be a Woman?”
Actors’ Equity Association | New York City (USA)
In an age when men in drag are commonplace on Broadway, why are women playing male roles so rare? The Women‘s Committee of Actor Equity’s Eastern Equal Employment Committee hosted a panel discussion on gender-neutral casting, moderated by Gael Schaefer. My fellow panelists were Deborah Wright Houston (Kings Country Shakespeare Company), Richard Schechner (NYU), Rebecca Patterson (Queen’s Company), Joanne Zipay (Judith Shakespeare Company) and Terry Berliner (Director).
Read Backstage’s report about this panel, entitled “It’s a Drag for Women.”
Book Publication | “About the Phenomenon of Theatre” | published in English, Persian and French languages
The Fajr International Theatre Festival | Tehran (Iran)
“Re-Orientalism,” my critical essay on the emergence of an Arab-American theater, was published in this book of critical essays and scholarly articles from the annual international festival held in the Iranian capital city of Tehran.
Released in three languages, the book was compiled by Nasrollah Ghaderi, in cooperation with Katayoon Hussein zadeh and Ali Najafi.
Pan Asian Repertory Theatre’s NewWorks Festival 2011
Chen Dance Center Theatre | New York (USA)
Consulted with Tisa Chang, Pan Asian Rep’s artistic producing director, and worked directly with emerging playwrights whose 3 full-length comedies and 3 solo shorts were featured in this new-works project, led by Ernest Abuba and Ron Nakahara. My 5 video interviews with the playwrights, created with Abby Felder, appear on Pan Asian Rep’s YouTube channel:
- “Allen Hope Sermonia speaks with Randy Gener” – http://youtu.be/LA3WbmcboP0
- “Una Aya Osato speaks with Randy Gener” http://youtu.be/U8ov38AQ4oA
- “Nancy Eng speaks with Randy Gener” – http://youtu.be/jjSoasNTSwU
- “What does new work mean to me?” – http://youtu.be/qqcQMw60q60
- “Kira Neel speaks with Randy Gener” – http://youtu.be/cgv1XF8ZIg8
Moderator | Panel Discussion | “Theatre and Democracy”
Led a seminar featuring Vanessa Cook, artistic leader of Market Theatre Lab of South Africa; Jessica Kaahwa, an actress and writer from Uganda who gave the message of the World Theatre Day 2011; Ambroise Mbia, an actor and director who heads the Cameroon Center of International Theatre Institute; and Alexander Kryzhanivskyi of the New Drama Theatre on Pechersk in the Ukraine.
Speaker | “Global Sweden: Swedish Theatre in the World”
In a seminar of international critics, I surveyed the evolution of contemporary Swedish drama, dance and circus in the U.S. and abroad.
2011 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space
Editor-in-Chief | PQ MAG
The official broadsheet publication of the 2011 Prague Quadrennial
Ministry of Culture of Czech Republic and the Arts–Theatre Institute | Prague (Czech Republic)
Edited PQ MAG, the official broadsheet publication of the 2011 Prague Quadrennial. It published interviews with artists, photo reports, critical commentary and much more. It was widely available at major venues in Prague’s city center: Veletržní Palace – National Gallery, Prague Crossroads – St. Anne’s Church, the Piazzeta and the New Stage of the National Theatre, and DAMU (The Academy of Performing Arts Prague).
Curatorial Advisor and Co-Creator | “From the Edge”
The USITT-USA National Exposition at 2011 Prague Quadrennial
USITT, the US association of design, production and technology professionals for the entertainment industry | Veletržní Palace (National Gallery) | Prague
Taking the architectural form of a beat-up performing garage with graffiti of President Barack Obama on the wall (designed by William Bloodgood), the USITT-USA PQ national exhibition mirrors the socio-political issues consuming American performance makers today. My volunteer work on this project spanned four years.
I also led a series of daily gallery talks (with artistic director Susan Tsu) featuring renowned U.S. directors and designers whose works were exhibited in From the Edge.
Amanda White, former associate artistic director of William Inge Center for the Arts, posted a three-part interview for the center’s blog Postcards from the Inge in which she asked me about the four-year process of curating and creating a USA national exposition:
- Interview – Part 1: “From the Edge“
- Interview – Part 2: “Active Searching & The Value of the Prague Quadrennial“
- Interview Part 3: “A Ripple Effect“
Web Launch | theaterofOneWorld.org
Facebook Page | www.facebook.com/gener.randy
La Biennale de Venezia
The Arsenale and the Giardinni | San Marco, Venice (Italy)
At the Venice Biennale, I launched a new magazine, in the theater of One World, and my new Facebook Page. I filed art criticism and journalistic reports about the Biennale.
Featured Television Guest | “Conversations with William M. Hoffman”
Part 1 and Part 2 aired on Channel 75 | New York (USA)
CUNY-TV 75 aired my two-part guest appearances on its cable TV show, “Conversations with William H. Hoffman,” which bills itself as a “television series of discussions with major theatre and musical figures of our times.” Visit http://cuny.tv/show/conversationswithwilliammhoffman/PR1012401
EARLY SEPTEMBER 2011
Book Publication | “The World of Theatre” | published in English, French and Arabic languages
Bangladesh Center of the International Theatre Institute (Bangladesh) and Peter Lang Editions (Paris, France)
33rd ITI World Congress | Xiamen (China)
U.S.A. Jury Member
51st International Theater Festival MESS Sarajevo
Međunarodni teatarski festival MESS | Sarajevo and Zenica (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Accompanied by a delegation of artists, we met with three Bosnian prime ministers of culture and sports (federal and canton) in their government offices. We grilled the politicians on matters of European cultural governance and Balkan cultural politics. Our meetings were covered by local Sarajevo newspapers. A report about my experiences in Sarajevo, entitled “An inspiring international festival rises above a ‘catastrophic state of culture’ in Bosnia and Herzegovina’,” at http://theaterofoneworld.org/2011/12/02/report-from-sarajevo/ — and on the official website of the International Theatre Critics Association.
LATE OCTOBER 2011
Moderator | “Advancing the Creativity of Artists”
“Dialogues Across Cultures: A Model for Building Enduring Partnerships” | Symposium on Contemporary African Performing Arts
MAPP International Productions and the Africa Arts Consortium in partnership with Museum of African Art, The African Center for Education at Teachers College and the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University | New York City (USA)
Led a public conversation with Faustin Linyekula, choreographer from Democratic Republic of Congo, and Ralph Lemon, artistic director of Cross Performance of NYC
This two-day symposium was designed to open up conversations around international cultural exchange; to share lessons learned through case studies; and to build understanding and connections between artists, organizations and public communities in the United States and on the African continent.
Moderator | “Ivo van Hove with Randy Gener”
BAM Next Wave Festival | Artist Talk: Movies and Theater
BAM Rose Cinemas | Brooklyn Academy of Music | Brooklyn, N.Y. (USA)
A conversation with acclaimed Flemish director Ivo van Hove, whose work Cate Blanchett describes as “stunning with a capital ‘S’ — returns to BAM with a stage adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s heartrending film Cries and Whispers, performed by Toneelgroep Amsterdam, the flagship theater of the Netherlands.
NoPassport Press Book Launch Party and Salon
New Dramatists | New York City (USA)
Celebrated the publication of Carson Kreitzer’s collection, Self-Defense and Other Plays, and Chiori Miyawa’s upcoming collection America Dreaming and Other Plays.
In addition to Kreitzer and Miyagawa, authors Susana Cook, Kia Corthron, Migdalia Cruz, Christine Evans, Linda Faigo-Hall, Catherine Filloux, David Greenspan, Matthew Maguire, Saviana Stanescu and Caridad Svich read and performed from their works.
U.S.A. Media Representative
German and American Media Dialogue
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in cooperation with Goethe Institute Washington and the Studio Theatre | Washington, D.C. (USA)
The Media Dialogue consisted of a public discussion among German and American theater critics and addressed trends in contemporary theater in Germany and the U.S. The Dialogue launched a sustained dialogue among critics between the two countries. Joining me were German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig (Arabian Night and Golden Pavilion); Peter Kümmel, theater critic for the newspaper Die Zeit, and Peter Michalzik, journalist and theater critic for the newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau.
My interview with Roland Schimmelpfennig, “That Point in the Drama Where It Starts to Hurt, That’s Where the Work Gets Interesting,” appears in Critical Stages.
Organizer and Moderator | A Broadway Panel Discussion
“Anatomy of Breakout”
The Drama Desk and Fordham University Theater Program | New York (USA)
Led a star-packed Broadway panel discussion reflecting the remarkable trend of breakthrough productions and breakout performances on New York’s commercial stages in the fall 2011.
Featured Broadway panelists were actor Samuel L. Jackson and director Kenny Leon of The Mountaintop; playwright David Henry Hwang, actor Jennifer Lim and director Leigh Silverman of Chinglish; playwright David Ives of Venus in Fur; actor Liz Mikel, book writer Douglas Carter Beane, composer Lewis Flinn and director Dan Knechtges of Lysistrata Jones. Theatremania writer Leslie (Hoban) Blake served as co-moderator.
The International Festival for Musical Performing Arts “Life is Beautiful!”
Teatrul National de Operetta “Ion Dacian” and Teatrul Metropolis | Bucharest (Romania)
Producer and Book Writer | “A Medley of Sondheim”
Performed at the Metropolis Theater, this concert production celebrated the iconic musicals of Stephen Sondheim (Anyone Can Whistle, West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George). This sexy Sondheim tribute featured an impressive cast of Broadway’s top musical talents and Sondheim specialists: Joan Almedilla (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables); Angel Desai (Sondheim’s Company); Ali Ewoldt (West Side Story); Jose Llana (The King & I, The Flower Drum Song, Wonderland); and Orville Mendoza (Sondheim’s Road Show). Albin Konopka was the musical director.
Lecturer and Moderator | “Sondheim and After: A Listening Party on America’s Greatest Living Composer”
Sondheim considers himself “a playwright in song.” How he arrived at this unique description was the subject of my lecture, conference and listening party. My presentation pulled aside the curtain on Sondheim’s creative universe: “Sondheim’s creative journey,” my thesis stated, “strives to reach the heights of a total and cinematic dramaturgy within musical structures.”
Video Interviewer | Japan Society’s YouTube channel featuring “The Bee”
Conversation with Japanese theatermaker Hideko Noda
Japan Society and Under the Radar Festival | New York (USA)
Interviewed Hideki Noda, director and co-author of The Bee, (Soho Theatre of London), one of two Under the Radar Festival programs produced by the Japan Society. Noda is one of the most popular director–playwrights in Japan.
The video interview appears on http://www.youtube.com/user/JapanSocietyNYC
- 2011 – My year in review (theaterofoneworld.org)
- Philippine government hosts global summit to inspire Filipinos to help in the country’s future development (theaterofoneworld.org)
- At Asia Society in New York, PNoy Aquino III follows footsteps of his late parents, Benigno and Corazon, offering updates on Philippine progress toward free-market democracy (theaterofoneworld.org)
- Reflections after my induction into Chicago Filipino American Hall of Fame (theaterofoneworld.org)
- Filipino culture under spotlight this weekend (sfgate.com)
- Young Filipinos choose to stay home (bbc.co.uk)
- Philippine officials overseeing workers’ flight from Syria (ctv.ca)
- Katutubong Filipino Project: Vanishing Indigenous Cultures (coconuter.blogspot.com)
- Philippine PERA Rules workable (stimuluscapitalideas.wordpress.com)
- pinoymonkeypride – make what you want of it (ladrido.net)